Correctional Officer

Correctional Officer

Bob Walsh

Stockton, CA

Male, 60

I worked for the California state system, starting as a Correctional Officer and retiring as a Lieutenant in 2005. I now write for the PacoVilla blog which is concerned with what could broadly be called The Correctional System.

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454 Questions


Last Answer on February 10, 2022

Best Rated

Do jail inmates get to vote?

Asked by Luca over 10 years ago

In some states some prisoners get to vote in some elections. I admit my memory is foggy on this. It also depends if you mean JAIL or PRISON. Inmates in jail, if they have no other convictions, are not felons. They can vote. It is technically difficult for them to do so and they seldom bother, but they can. In many states convicted felons can not vote, in some they can, and it sometimes depends if they are voting in federal or state elections. As an aside, Al Franken, the senator from Wisc, voted for Obamacare. It passed by one vote. Franken won his seat by about 400 votes. It is KNOWN that over 1,100 ex-felons registered and voted illegally in that election. Information indicates that ex-felons overwhelmingly vote Democrat. So, in one respect you could say that Obamacare is a direct result of (possibly unintentional) voter fraud by convicted felons.

My boyfriend was very good to me on the outside. He took care of me. We were dating for 2 years. But, now he may face 10 years. I am confused. I really love him! He wants me to marry him. I am unsure! Can you give me some advice?

Asked by sunny about 10 years ago

I'll try, though advice is dangerous and sometimes nothing works.  Most people, including me, are STRONGLY opposed to jailhouse romances as they pretty much have a 100% failure rate.  You, however, have had a relationship before he got locked up.  So there are a few things you need to look at.  One is time.  Depending on what state you are in 10 years may mean three years, or it may mean ten years.  There is a HUGE difference.  It also depends on the offense.  If it was a sexual offense (i.e. child molestation, etc) he is unlikely to change.  If it was something else, like robbery or burglary, he may get his head straight.  If he has a significant record already he is likely to change only via old age or infirmity, and you will have to look forward to him being incarcerated on and off for the rest of his life.  Do you have any children?  Do you have any children with him?  Does he have any children with anybody else?  Are you self-supporting, do you have a job?  Will he expect you to kick down money to him while he is locked up?  Will he expect you to spend all your weekends visiting him in prison?  Are you ready for all that?  My basic advise on ANY marriage is, if you have to ask, you are not ready.  When one partner is about to go away to prison for what might be a long time, I definitely think it is a bad idea.  More info would be helpful, but that is my basic response.

What should a new inmate do to prevent himself from getting messed with?

Asked by bubba over 10 years ago

That is hard, as it depends a lot on the exact setting and situation. General rule is "do your own time." Don't put your nose into other people's business. Don't borrow stuff. Don't loan stuff. Stand up for yourself without being an idiot about it. (This one is hard line to walk.) At least in California it is almost impossible for a hispanic inmate to be truly unaffiliated, which means you will pick a side and the other side will come after you on general principles. It is easier for blacks to be unaffiliated. It is even easier for whites to be unaffiliated. Try to be invisible without actually hiding. Best way of course it to stay the hell out of prison in the first place. There are nasty people in prison, and they continue to be predators after they are locked up. If you are in a cell people will tend to believe you are affiliated with your cellie. If his affiliation and yours don't line up, try to get another cellie. If in a dorm, be careful where you hang around. Different groups tend to stake out different areas. Keep your eyes open and your mouth shut. Remember, virtually no one goes to prison their first time around the block and pretty much everyone in prison has done county time. The rules are similar.

Is there a CA code that has a section that prohibits an officer from geting involved with inmate families. I had asked a Lieutenant at a fire camp to flag my brother to come to his camp but he said because of some code he could not. What is the code?

Asked by SEan-0 over 9 years ago

The idea is to not have staff dealing with inmates with whom they or a member of their family has a personal relationship as it can cause problems in both directions.  i.e. if your sisters husband is in prison, they would not allow him to be placed at the prison where you work.  I don't remember the exact section of Title 15, but it is in there.  Title 15 of the California Code of Regulations, also known as the Rules of the Directior of the Department of Corrections, can be accessed and searched on line.

Are all prison shower and bathroom facilities as wide open and un-private as they appear on TV and movies? Or are there separate shower/bathroom stalls in real life?

Asked by Loki over 10 years ago

The shower rooms are pretty much open.  Bad things can happen there so they must be visible to staff.  Most cells have toilets and sinks in the cells.  In dorm settings the toilets are also open, there are no stalls or doors, at least in the facilities that I am familiar with.  Prison is a bad place if you are shy.

In some fictional depictions of prison, the main character has expertise and so he helps out the other prisoners (say filing appeals by a character with legal expertise) and in exchange for his expertise he's given favors, etc. does that ever happen

Asked by AndyDufresne over 10 years ago

That is not uncommon actually.  I have known a couple of people who did that.  Some jail-house lawyers get pretty good at it.  They have the time, and it is kind of a niche market.

What should a prisoner say or do at a parole hearing to give himself the best possible shot at being paroled?

Asked by NJallDay over 10 years ago

Some people have no shot period. For instance, the only way Charlie Manson is ever leaving prison is feet first. In California parole is automatic except for lifers, who are almost always murderers with a few kidnappers thrown in. Generally the parole board is looking for acceptance of responsibility, remorse and attempts at self-improvement, i.e. alcoholics annonymous meetings, getting a GED, that sort of thing. Also a good disciplinary record is a positive. If there are a couple of bible-thumpers on the board thery are often impressed by telling them you have found god while in prison.